If you’re ever sat at an undesirable table at a restaurant—like one right next to a bathroom or in between two others with barely enough room to squeeze by—it’s time you ask for the table you actually want.
As restaurant editor Hillary Dixlar Canavan recently wrote for Eater, it’s part of a restaurant’s duty to keep you happy, as long as you’re polite with your request.
You’ve come to this restaurant to spend your money and have a great time. If you feel that would be more easily achieved in a different spot, there’s no harm in asking politely. The way I see it, asking for the table you want means taking some responsibility for your own happiness—the ultimate move.
Of course, they can say no, too.
Maybe a restaurant is reserving a table for a larger party or they’re keeping parties close together so waitstaff can better serve you, as u/binger5 explained in a Reddit thread.
“During non-peak hours only a handful of tables come in,” they wrote. “Generally one server can handle all of the tables. It’s easier to take care of multiple tables when they’re located together. You can grab ketchup for one table, drop off another table’s food, and take the drink order of the third table without walking around the restaurant.”
So don’t expect to get the table you want every time you ask. And if you do plan to ask, be sure to have a specific alternative table in mind before popping the question to make the request easier for staff—and simply ask: Would it be ok if I take that table?
It’s easy! And if you want to avoid the interaction altogether, put the request in for a specific table (ie. one by the bar or a high-top) when you make a reservation using sites or apps like Opentable and Resy. Like getting a hotel or flight upgrade, you won’t know until you ask, so just do it already.